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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Holy crap, it’s a good time to be a weeb on PC right now

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Y’all. Persona 5 Royal and Persona 3 Portable are coming to PC. Finally! I feel like it’s easy to understate what a big deal this is. Two major top-class JRPGs are getting what should be very solid PC ports, if Persona 4 Golden’s port is anything to go by. Two games I never expected to be on PC. Yet here we are. Persona 5 Royal is hitting Steam and Game Pass for PC on October 21, with Persona 3 Portable coming sometime after.

2022 so far has been absolutely fantastic for great Japanese games coming to the global PC audience. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax got ported to Steam, drumming rhythm game Taiko no Tatsujin made its series debut on Game Pass and the Microsoft Store, and the undeniably fantastic Hatsune Miku Project Diva series also debuted on PC when Mega Mix+ shadowdropped in May. Those are just some of the games off the top of my head that show now more than ever: it’s a goddamn good time to be a weeb on PC.

I’m a happily self-proclaimed weeb. I’m not quite at the levels I used to be—I rarely find the time for anime these days, and I’ve had to cool off on buying manga until I have a living space that can sustain my obsession—but Japanese entertainment has formed a large part of who I am for the past 15 years.

That part of my personality has sort of dictated where I’ve chosen to play my games over time. I shifted away from PC gaming as a child and gravitated toward the PlayStation family. For the longest time, Sony has housed series that made me the gamer I am today: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Persona, Project Diva, Danganronpa, Steins;Gate, Taiko no Tatsujin and more that I am definitely forgetting. Games that for the longest time, weren’t on PC.

That’s not to say Japanese games were avoiding PC altogether—hell, Final Fantasy 7 had a PC release back in the 90s. For the most part though, everything I loved was reserved for the likes of the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and beyond. But for the longest time consoles were dominant in the Japanese market and PC wasn’t the ginormous presence it is now. Most Japanese publishers didn’t seem to see the point in bringing even their biggest titles to PC.

Life Will Change

But as we’ve seen over the last two years, that’s no longer the case. From Atlus to Sega, Japanese developers are now prioritising getting their games onto PC, with powerhouses like Capcom even committing to making PC its lead development platform. PlayStation is no longer the exclusive domain of the weeb, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ve slowly been crawling back to PC gaming over the last couple of years, and a huge reason is the ever-increasing accessibility of these games. I remember the joy I felt when Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was announced for Steam in 2016. The blinding excitement of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in 2019. The shock of every Kingdom Hearts game heading to Epic in 2021. Watching this incredible platform open its doors to my hobby after spending years (rather ignorantly) associating the PC with stiff strategy games, dingy sepia-toned shooters and The Sims has been pretty damn rad.

Japanese gaming on PC still has a long way to go, mind. Square Enix has the porting prowess of a pile of mashed potatoes. Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s port was disappointing, Stranger of Paradise was a bit hairy and Nier Automata spent four years broken. Bandai Namco completely fumbled Taiko no Tatsujin’s port, which was unplayable without mods for the first couple of days after release. The games may be coming, but that doesn’t mean the ports are always great. 

Despite that, I’m hopeful. We’ve seen good-ass ports. The Yakuza games ran great on PC and Sega in general has a fairly good track record for bringing its games over here in a playable state. NIS America enlisted a former modder for ports like Ys IX and Trails from Zero and they were amazing as a result. Not only is Dragon Ball FighterZ an incredible anime fighter, but its PC port was top-tier too. 

It’s taken a while for Japanese developers to hop on the PC gaming bandwagon but I’m so glad they’re finally on-board. More people being able to play my favourite games is never a bad thing, even if the experience is a little janky sometimes. But as big players like Atlus and Sega continue to set the bar high, it’s only a matter of time before other developers follow suit. Whether you identify as a weeb, love anime or just the odd Final Fantasy game, we can all agree that there’s never been a better time to love and celebrate our hobby.

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